Here, the Gospel.

At the last church I served, one Sunday, when we reached the part of worship where we said the Assurance of Pardon, the liturgy led with, “Here the Gospel.”  I cringed. It was clearly supposed to be a call to the people to “HEAR the Gospel.” I have a bit of a pet peeve about here/hear, there/their/they’re and your/you’re being used incorrectly. I should have caught that. 

But as the service went on, and I looked out over our congregation, I began to think maybe the error in the Assurance wasn’t one of spelling, but of punctuation.  Maybe it just needed a comma: Here, the Gospel. 

Because in that congregation, I saw people burned by the church who found reconciliation. I saw people struggling with health and financial issues who found comfort. I saw people who have been told that they were not okay find acceptance.  I saw people who sought to make a difference find their mission. I saw an eclectic gathering of people from age three to 93. I saw God-with-us experienced in community.

Here, the Gospel. Indeed. 

Perhaps that needs to be our bench mark as we look at what is happening in our world. When we look events, groups of people and even policies, can we say truthfully, “Here, the Gospel?”

I’ll grant that we each mean something a little bit different when we talk about “the Gospel,” but all of our definitions center around the work and words and witness of Jesus.

Let’s rededicate our efforts to making the healing and reconciling love of Christ visible in this world that seems hell-bent on hurting and hate. Let’s make this a world we can walk through saying, “Here, the Gospel” and meaning it.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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